Feds invest millions in training for trades

$63.5 million over five years spread out over 68 projects

Feds invest millions in training for trades
The project will help more than 500 apprentices enter and complete their training through skills improvement.

The federal government is investing $63.5 million over five years to help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs in the economy.

The investment will go through 68 projects from the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals.

“Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical to essential sectors during this pandemic, and they will continue to be so as Canada moves toward economic recovery. This investment will help Canadians, including Canadians from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades,” says Carla Qualtrough, minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

Ottawa is encouraging employers to submit proposals for funding around skills training and hiring. The move is part of an additional $72 million over three years as part of the Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Among those receiving funding is the UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia, which is getting close to $9 million over five years from 2021 to 2026 for its Inclusion in the Trades from Upgrading to Red Seal Certification project.

The project will help more than 500 apprentices – including more than 300 from key groups facing barriers – successfully enter and complete their training through skills improvement. The college will also work to eliminate barriers, such as accessibility and distance to training, and build partnerships with community stakeholders that will lead to better apprenticeship outcomes.

“This funding will allow us to continue supporting underrepresented groups in the trades and help bring training to communities around the province of British Columbia,” says William Schwarz, director of operations at the UA Piping Industry College. “We are very excited to get to work with this new funding and hopefully open new doors of prospect and opportunity to people throughout the province who would not have had this opportunity in the past.”

The federal government provides $25 million annually through the UTIP to support union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships in the Red Seal trades.

Demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to remain strong as the economy moves toward recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the government. This is the case especially with about 700,000 skilled trades workers expected to retire between 2019 and 2028.

The government is encouraging young women to consider a career in skilled trades. According to an Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey, only two per cent of 15-year-old female students indicated they were planning to pursue a career in the skilled trades. 

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